PHONE INTERVIEWS

A phone interview is a great way for companies to speak with someone about a particular position in order to narrow down the number of candidates they’ll bring in for in-person interviews. While you’re not meeting someone in person, it’s just as important to be prepared well in advance of your phone interview to ensure you’re ready for anything.

A couple of years ago, while employed as a freelance copywriter at Banana Republic’s world headquarters in San Francisco, I decided to find something more challenging to do for work. While it was an interesting place to work, it was only a matter of time before I knew writing page after page of copy about men’s and women’s clothing was going to become dull and boring.

Luckily, I’d recently finished my certificate in technical and professional writing, and my friend Victoria, whom I went to school with, worked for a biotech company I’d been interested in working at. With some encouragement, Victoria helped me update my resume to include my technical writing abilities, and once complete, I applied for a technical writer with the company.

It helps when you know someone who already works for the company, as they can often get your resume into the hands of a hiring manager. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened to me.

About a week after I submitted my resume, a person who turned out to be the manager I’d later work for called me to say she’d received my resume and wanted to conduct a phone interview. After scheduling the phone interview, I researched the company’s website, as well as spoke with Victoria, to get the inside scoop on company culture. 

On the appointed day and time, the hiring manager called me and we discussed:

* My Background
* Resume facts
* What I was looking for in a position
* Other questions I had regarding the position.

Tips for the Phone Interview

* Prepare! Have an updated copy of your resume in front of you during your phone interview
* Listen carefully to the questions you’re being asked
* Avoid distractions! No gum chewing, loud music, friends in the room, playing with your pet, or taking a shower, please! Your focus needs to be with the person you’re on the phone with at all times.
* Be polite and listen intently. When you’re done, ask politely what are the next steps regarding the interview process. 
* Have a list of any questions you might have for the interviewer
* Follow up with a thank you letter and/or email
* If at any point you feel the position isn’t a good match for you, simply tell the hiring manager. Honesty really is the best policy!

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